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Has Pride Parade 'Outgrown' Lakeview? Neighbors, Alderman Divided on Event

By Erica Demarest | July 3, 2014 1:36pm | Updated on July 7, 2014 8:25am
 A million people were expected to turn out for this year's Pride Parade on the North Side.
Pride Parade 2014
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LAKEVIEW — After officials said more than a million people flocked to Sunday's Pride parade, some residents and their alderman are wondering whether it's outgrown the Lakeview neighborhood.

"I've had discussions that we are one or two incidents, or one or two parades, away from not having the parade. Period," Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said Wednesday night at a community policing meeting.

Tunney has said he'd be willing to move the parade Downtown after residents complained to his office about public drinking, trash and safety concerns.

According to Town Hall district police, 45 people were arrested for misdemeanor crimes from 5 a.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. Two others showed up in felony bond court this week after they allegedly trashed a police car and tried to tackle an officer, respectively.

A lot of constituents are wondering whether the parade has "outgrown the neighborhood," Tunney said.

"As you know, people come from all over the Midwest. It is certainly an economic boon to the neighborhood, but not at the cost of public safety issues, and I think public safety comes first," he said.

Tunney said he'll be meeting with community groups and city departments over the next few weeks "to assess all the issues that happened over the entire weekend."

He may recommend route changes, he said.

A small group of residents lashed out at Tunney at Wednesday night's community policing meeting in the Town Hall district police station, 850 W. Addison St.

"My neighborhood gets absolutely trashed," said a man who lives on Roscoe Street between Clark and Halsted streets. "The stuff I clean, I should've had a Hazmat suit on — defecation, needles, drug paraphernalia, shattered glass.

"I've got plenty of gay friends," the man continued. "I don't think it's a coincidence that the majority of them get the hell out of town. They think it's amateur hour for suburban s---heads to trash our neighborhood and wash their hands of it."

A woman who lives on Cornelia near Sheffield said she's looking to "move to Lincoln Park or another spot because this neighborhood is out of control."

Another man complained that as late as midnight Sunday, he still saw large crowds on sidewalks and in alleys. He said there was blood on the sidewalk, and his street smelled like urine.

"It's reflecting badly on all of us," he said. "It was like a war zone."

Meanwhile, the Uptown Uprising neighborhood group has launched an online petition to keep the parade exactly where it is.

"The Chicago Pride Parade has had vice and noise for decades. It still brings in 1 million people [sic] and millions more in revenue to local neighborhood businesses," the petition reads.

"NIMBY [not in my backyard] residents have put their biases above all reason and wish to cancel the Pride Parade in our neighborhoods. This is a hindrance on small local businesses and really shows a NIMBY attitude towards marginalized groups that needs to be put to a halt."

As of Thursday morning, more than 250 people had signed the petition.

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